Voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention in fishing communities in Uganda: the influence of local beliefs and practice

Published in: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume 15, issue 3, 2016 , pages: 211–218
DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2016.1179652
Author(s): Martin MbonyeMRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Uganda, Monica KuteesaMRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Uganda, Janet SeeleyMRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Uganda, Jonathan LevinSchool of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, South Africa, Helen WeissMRC Tropical Epidemiology Group, United Kingdom, Anatoli KamaliMRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, Uganda


Local beliefs and practices about voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) may influence uptake and effectiveness. Data were gathered through interviews with 40 people from four ethnically mixed fishing communities in Uganda. Some men believed that wound healing could be promoted by contact with vaginal fluids while sex with non-regular partners could chase away spirits – practices which encouraged unsafe sexual practices. Information given by providers stressed that VMMC did not afford complete protection from sexually-transmitted infections, however, a number of male community members held the view that they were fully protected once circumcised. Both men and women said that VMMC was good not just for HIV prevention but also as a way of maintaining hygiene among the men. The implementation of VMMC in high-HIV prevalence settings needs to take account of local beliefs about circumcision, working with local religious/social group leaders, women and peers in the roll-out of the intervention.

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